eric thomas speaks with students
Eric Thomas speaks to CCPS students. (Photo from Andraé Townsel via Facebook)

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. — Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) recently contracted for literacy and leadership education with “The Playbook – School Days with Eric Thomas.” 

“It’s an opportunity for our young people across Calvert County in every high school,” CCPS Superintendent Andraé Townsel said. “We are targeting 50 students who need academic support for an opportunity in engagement, motivation, and leadership skills with regards to literacy and academic skills.”

The program is one of the resources being utilized at all of Calvert County high schools to promote student achievement and help close learning loss gaps of students who need additional support, said Rene Daniels, CCPS chief communications officer. 

“The district is utilizing this program as one of the instructional resources to help close the learning loss gap,” Daniels said.

On Sept. 22, the Board of Education of Calvert County approved the contract for literacy and leadership education to The Playbook – School Days with Eric Thomas in the total amount of $344,000.

Earlier in the year, Thomas took five students from Lansing, MI to the Superbowl as part of this program. 

Eric Thomas speaks to CCPS students. (Photo from Andraé Townsel via Facebook)

Once approved, staff worked with The Playbook representatives to schedule the kickoff of the program at each of the high schools, Daniels said.

The kickoff presentations were held on Nov. 1 and Nov. 3. The program will take place in each of the high schools over the next several months, Daniels said.

However, many community members have gone on to publicly express concerns over the cost of the program, and skepticism over its ability to demonstrate improvement in student performance. Of those expressing concerns is the Calvert County Board of Commissioners(BOCC).

On November 9, the BOCC sent a signed letter to Townsel, seeking an “explanation on where these funds will be reallocated and justification for the need to take Calvert County students out of state for a non-educational event.”

Read their full letter below:

Letter from the Calvert BOCC regarding The Playbook.

Eric Thomas, an American motivational speaker, author, consultant, and minister, has this program as part of his School Days Foundation. This foundation is an organization that allows Thomas to bring his services to schools across the globe.

The foundation’s mission is to create, implement, and support programs and events. These programs look to empower and equip the next generation of leaders and influencers, one student, one parent, one educator, and one community at a time.

For more information on the School Days Foundation, visit https://www.schooldaysfoundation.org/.

Contact our news desk at news@thebaynet.com

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21 Comments

  1. As a retired Calvert County public school teacher I cannot emphasize enough how much motivational speakers add to the learning environment of our students. They are inspiring and stimulate positive discussions that go beyond the structured school day. We used to have them for students and they were positive experiences. Thank you.

    1. Ok I get that. But is the value there for $344k? Even the best public speakers fees are something around $15-20k per appearance. Exactly how is this $344,000 being spent, and is it only for 50 students? That is not a very good value at all.

      1. How s it equity for only 50 students to attend a non-educational function as Super Bowl. I do not want my tax dollars spent this way. What was cut from the already allocated budget to cover this?

        1. 344k ÷ 50 students = less than 7k per student (not to mention the educators that are being trained AND supported as part of the programming). As an education professional in NYC (I work for a private company that provides similar support to schools without the motivational speaker aspect), I can tell you that there are many companies charging this rate for half of the time (or less) that the School Days Foundation will be spending with these students. Ray Dalio himself quoted a price of ~ 8k – 9k/student for similar educational intervention work with this same age group of students who stand the risk of becoming “completely disengaged” by 11th grade. I firmly believe that 7k is a reasonable price for providing the curriculum and services that can save the future of these young students while they’rr still reachable and able to ‘turn the ship around.’ If School Days is offering the SB trip as an incentive for the students to be among the highest achieving, that’s great!! I’m sure his cost for taking then to the SB is not high at all (the tickets, flights, and hotels are likely in-kind donations). I have no affiliation w Eric Thomas or the SDF.

  2. Mike Hart and Earl Hance why are you complaining when you spent an additional $3 million on a golf course making it an additional $3 million over budget Does this contribute to education or how you will spend your leisure time?

  3. My kids attended this motivational speaker presented in school. Their takeaway was with this program- it’s better to fail do you can get more opportunities in school. You won’t be rewarded for your hardwork.

  4. So part of this “motivation” will take 50 kids to the superbowl….Let’s consider for a moment who this will most likely benefit. Not everyone likes football, but those that do tend to have a certain sex. Also consider the overwhelming racial demographic of the NFL player. I we know what this is. This is a sexism and racism guised as a virtuous pursuit of equity and inclusion. This has to stop. We have lost our way. Porn is being peddled to kids; votes are being wasted on dead people; and fraud is being committed to promote racism and sexism.

  5. It is sad to how the article shows its bias. The article completely missed the boat on effective the program has been in other cities. Did not solicit one interview from someone who actually has bee. a part of the program. Then to bring up the super bowl. Do we know why those 5 students were chosen out of how many? Do we know how it was paid for? I m sure answers are no. Maybe the children were rewarded for there hard work? Maybe Dr. Eric Thomas who yes has a PhD from Michigan St. who has affiliations with multiple NFL teams was gifted the tickets for the work he does? Maybe we should just want for out kids, funds are being spent in more frivolous ways than this.

  6. Is it because of his ethnicity that he is being put under a microscope? And if you didn’t know he is one of the best motivational speakers in the US look it up.

    1. no, it is the wasted money that was spent to send a well paid school official to the SB using tax payer money, and spent on a program that rewards students who don’t meet the bare minimum expectations. Your racism is showing with that comment

  7. Perhaps if they were truly educated in the elementary grades they would not need to have motivational programs. Too many students are promoted to the next grade without fully grasping the material covered the preceding year. The district would do better on spending the money on supporting teachers so they can get back to teaching the basics as a firm foundation for the latter school years.

    To Anonymous: Not everything is about ethnicity and race.

  8. Perhaps if they were truly educated in the elementary grades they would not need to have motivational programs. Too many students are promoted to the next grade without fully grasping the material covered the preceding year. The district would do better on spending the money on supporting teachers so they can get back to teaching the basics as a firm foundation for the latter school years.

  9. After speaking w several HS students they felt it was wasted time. The time could have be served in other areas. The speaker was not in touch with them or the demographic of the area.
    And our schools need funding to be used on better resources.

  10. As the parent of 3 Calvert county graduates, 2 of which had an iep, one of those had an iep his entire school career, this was neither mentioned or offered to either child. I had to go up against teachers, administrators and even bring in help from the CCBOE to a few iep meetings just to be heard and believed. Increase teacher’s pay instead, even if it’s just the cost of the trip allocated to each educator. If you have over $300k for a trip, you should’ve put it where it matters. Teachers.

    1. As a special educator in this county, I applaud you. Behavior problems were the chosen, not kids who really could have gotten something out of it

  11. If you don’t understand the impact that Eric Thomas has on lives then your never understand the budget. For that amount of money can save one life then so be it, nobody complains about other government spendings let this man do what he does best and save lives weather be multiple or just one cause he saved mine and made me successful with his words and knowledge.

  12. Let’s reward those that lack motivation and are failing school with a trip to the Super Bowl instead of those that make honor roll while playing school sports and working part time jobs….makes sense!?!? It’s sad when you try to teach your kids that you have to work hard to get what you want out of life and then have to witness how society hands out things to those that refuse to work hard at anything. It’s disgusting and disgraceful!

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